AR Virtual Products: The Future Is Now
Adam Sheppard is a leading expert in virtual technology - leading one of the most successful VR/AR agencies with cutting-edge products across industries. Augmented reality (AR) is the fastest-growing segment within the virtual products space. As Adam explains, the increase in mobile-first experiences has expanded the application for AR - from fun-first games to everyday tasks.
8Ninths CEO on Virtual Products (Part 2)
More so than any category, augmented reality (AR) products are the fastest growing segment of virtual products. Currently, the leading provider of AR is Microsoft – with their HoloLens headset and applications. However, this is still a developing market that has a lot of smaller players who are making an impact in other industries. For example, we will see continued growth in AR solutions within warehouse management, action sports and entertainment.
Currently, the biggest opportunity for AR growth lies in recent investments from Apple and Google into mobile AR technology. Specifically, these companies have introduced products for smartphones and tablets that can create AR experiences directly from the device. Most importantly, these experiences do not require an expensive headset. Built-in gyroscopes and visual recognition software power this technology.
As a result, the growth in users for AR content has exploded in recent years. Looking at 2018, we are expecting to see nearly 1 billion users consuming AR content. By 2021, this number could exceed 3 billion users. That said, full-on virtual reality (VR) experiences will continue to gain traction as equipment becomes less bulky and affordable. However, the real gamechangers in the virtual products space will come from AR technology.
To show you that the future is here, I’m sure you’ve all seen (or played) Pokemon Go.
It took off like crazy and is certainly the most compelling example of mobile AR’s potential. It’s easy to dismiss interest in the game as a flash in the pan. However, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Pokemon Go’s example has shed light on how users can experience AR in the future.
For example, the most interesting statistic tied to Pokemon Go’s popularity is how much time people used the app. Looking at Android’s top 20 games, 45 percent of total usage was linked to Pokemon Go. This means that the other 19 games shared the other 55 percent of usage. On the numbers side, AR virtual products represent over $100 billion in opportunity over the next five years.
From this, you can start to get a sense of how AR is starting to become the go-to interface for mobile products.